Does interleaved practice during tuition help to improve comprehension skills in PSLE English?

Interleaved practice, a learning strategy where different topics or skills are mixed or interleaved during study sessions, holds significant potential in enhancing the comprehension skills of students preparing for the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) English Paper. Notably, with the Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board (MOE SEAB) continually striving to raise the bar for English proficiency, adopting dynamic learning methods such as interleaved practice could provide students with a well-rounded skill set to tackle the PSLE English examinations more effectively.

From Primary 1 to Primary 6, English language skills are nurtured gradually, with comprehension being a significant component of the learning process. Comprehension, as we understand, is not just about understanding the text but involves inferring, summarising, and critical thinking. When students embark on their learning journey through interleaved practice during their tuition, they engage in an active learning process that exposes them to a variety of comprehension passages, thereby providing an opportunity for them to practice these skills in a diverse range of contexts.

Interleaved practice in comprehension exercises offers a broad spectrum of texts ranging from narratives to informative articles, offering an eclectic mix to keep the learning process intriguing. This process encourages students to transfer the skills they’ve learned from one type of passage to another. For instance, they might learn to infer meaning from a narrative passage and later apply this skill to an expository text. Such transfer of skills nurtures the cognitive flexibility required for PSLE English examinations.

One of the significant advantages of interleaved practice lies in its ability to assist students in identifying connections and differences among different kinds of comprehension passages. By moving between different text types and comprehension questions, students can effectively compare and contrast the characteristics, enhancing their overall comprehension proficiency.

This teaching methodology adheres well to the MOE SEAB guidelines, which aim to nurture well-rounded individuals who can think critically and interpret a range of text types. Further, interleaved practice promotes a deep understanding of the subject matter, better preparing students for the challenging PSLE English examinations.

However, while interleaved practice does provide a host of benefits, it is essential for parents and educators to be mindful of the potential challenges. The introduction of new skills or concepts can initially be demanding for students, as it requires more cognitive effort than blocked or focused practice. As such, it may be useful to gradually introduce interleaved practice in a supportive and stress-free environment, allowing students to adjust at their own pace.

Additionally, the impact of interleaved practice could be amplified when used in conjunction with other evidence-based learning strategies, such as spaced repetition and retrieval practice. These methods could help to reinforce learning and promote long-term retention of the comprehension skills learned.

Interleaved practice, when implemented correctly during tuition, can indeed be a powerful tool in improving comprehension skills for PSLE English. As we continue to navigate through the evolving education landscape, interleaved practice could prove instrumental in preparing our children for a lifetime of learning, far beyond their PSLE English examinations.